Thursday 04 June 2020

Insomnia could be in your genes, Dutch scientists say

A team of international scientists led by Dutch researchers have identified 956 genes in the brain that increase the risk of chronic insomnia, broadcaster NOS reports.

‘It looks as if people who have the risk genes have trouble getting rid of  tension during sleep,’ neurophysiologist Eus van Someren, who headed the team, told the broadcaster.

The research found that in people with insomnia the mechanism which helps process  impressions and events that take place during the day does not work or works insufficiently.

‘A night’s sleep will not solve that. Sometimes insomniacs will wake up feeling even more tense then when they went to bed,’ Van Someren, who is attached to Amsterdam’s VU University, said.

The findings, which were published in scientific journal Nature Genetics, were based on an analysis of the dna and sleep data of 1.3 million people.

‘Often insomniacs will be told to relax and stop moaning. But we think some people are more prone to insomnia than other and we want to know why,’ Van Someren said.

The next phase of the research will be to analyse the brain cells on a molecular level. The researchers are also looking for ways to combat insomnia, such as medication or tips to encourage sleep.

According to statistics office CBS at least 10% of the Dutch population suffers from chronic insomnia.

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